Round Two: The Best Shops and Markets Around Barcelona

Taking off from the city centre we will explore here many other places for the best shopping in Barcelona. The focus is on those more peripherally located, as well as diving into the cities rich cultural staple: its markets! 

Las Arenas Shopping Centre

Worth its spot in Barcelona’s shopping adventure is Las Arenas, on La Plaça de Espanyol. This was the former bullfighting arena and remains a stately spectacle today. The sport has long since fallen out of favour in Catalonia and is now illegal. Nonetheless, the arena has been creatively repurposed to continue its legacy of popularity. There is a variety of mid-range fashion shops and classy restaurants to spend an afternoon. On-site you can also find a fitness centre, the Museum of Rock and a 12-screen multiplex cinema. The views over the city and towards the Palau Nacional from the top are stunning. 

The former bullfighting ring is now a shopping centre just opposite La Plaça Espanyol.

Mercat de La Concepció

In the Eixample district and to the north of La Passeig de Gràcia is La Concepció market. This is well known as the city’s best flower market. With a variety of many different flowers, both locally produced and exotic, it is a paradise for any flower lover. Or perhaps you may just wish to pick up a nice bouquet for that special someone. There is also a lot of food for sale, with an atmosphere like a market of old. The culture here is very much about meeting people, socialising, trying new things, enjoy the sensual feast and having a great time! The bon Vivre of the place sweeps up locals and tourists alike.

In the Eixample district La Concepcion is a classic example of market architecture in Barcelona.

Mercat de Santa Caterina

Located in the gothic quarter of the town, this market stands out, thanks to its incredible roof. Made into a waving form with multicoloured tiling, it is a tantalising delight. Despite the market’s central location and bold, modern architecture, it is lesser known than others. Inside you will find a broad variety of food to purchase, from takeaway meals or fresh ingredients to make a meal at home. If you don’t have access to a kitchen, there are plenty of foodstuffs to enjoy to hand. The focus here is on regional, Catalan food, so this is a great place for supplies to try your skills in cooking like a local.

The unique roof makes the Santa Catarina market stand out.

Sant Antoni

One of the hottest neighbourhoods for Barcelona’s youth scene in the Eixample district is Sant Antoni. The famous market of the same name takes centre stage here. Around which, many establishments for young urban trendies have sprung up. Looking for brunch cafes or innovative cuisine, a new bicycle or quirky design and fashion outlets? This is a great place to browse what’s on offer and certainly won’t disappoint you. Check out ‘Trait Store’ for limited edition Nikes and Adidas, a range of backpacks and retro sunglasses. They also have an interesting assortment of perfumes and magazines. If you’re travelling with a young child, or want to find a gift for one, then ‘Petit Gegant’ has many excellent choices.

A florist in the up and coming neighbourhood of Sant Antoni makes creative use of space.

La Boqueria

This is pretty much a must-do on every tourists’ itinerary when visiting Barcelona. Located just off the main street La Rambla is the globally famous market La Boqueria. With a primary focus on food, here you can find anything you want for home cooking or sampling. Take outs are available throughout the day, or you can sit down to eat, bar style. Your eyes will be overwhelmed by the diversity of colourful fruits from all over the world. From sweet oranges of Valencia to exotic dragon fruit or jackfruit. You can cool off the heat with a nice, freshly squeezed juice or take refreshing coconut water.

There are also butchers shops, slicing classic Iberian ham and a range of chorizos. Particularly sought after is the local black chorizo. Catalan cheeses and wines can be found at deli stands, alongside those from France, the rest of Spain and beyond. Like any lively market, the place is bustling with activity, colours, sights and smells. However, La Boqueria is in the centre of town and caters to tourists as much as locals. Therefore, it can be more expensive than other markets, with the cheapest produce being available at the end of the day. It is also worth mentioning that you look out for pickpockets, as this central location can be a primary target spot.

The entranceway to Barcelona’s world-renowned market La Boqueria.

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